Male Fetus Vs Female Fetus: Know the Differences

Male Fetus Vs Female Fetus: Know the Differences

Male Fetus Vs Female Fetus: Male and female fetuses grow in the same way at first, although small variances arise as a result of chromosomal differences. The XY chromosomes define a male foetus, whereas the XX chromosomes suggest a girl. Around the sixth week, the presence of a Y chromosome in males causes the development of testes, which produce testosterone. This hormone triggers the development of male genitalia. Females, on the other hand, lack the Y chromosome, and their internal tissues grow into ovaries in the absence of testosterone. While male and female fetuses initially have similar general shapes, there are minor differences. Male foetuses grow bigger during the second trimester and have a greater average birth weight.

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Difference Between Male and Female Fetus

It's important to remember that while these are some biological distinctions, both male and female fetuses share the same fundamental developmental processes throughout pregnancy. Outlines are the differences between the two:


Male Fetus

Female Fetus

Chromosomal Composition

Presence of Y chromosome

Presence of two X chromosomes

Gonadal Development

Develops testes

Develops ovaries

Hormone Production

Produces testosterone

Produces estrogen and progesterone

External Genitalia

Typically develops into a penis and scrotum

Typically develops into labia and clitoris

Internal Genitalia

Prostate gland development occurs

Uterus and fallopian tube development occurs

Reproductive Function

Sperm production begins during puberty

Ovum production begins during fetal development but halts until puberty

Genetic Disorders Risk

Higher risk for certain genetic disorders such as hemophilia or Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Higher risk for certain genetic disorders such as Turner syndrome or Rett syndrome

Congenital Conditions

More susceptible to certain congenital conditions like hypospadias

More susceptible to certain congenital conditions like congenital adrenal hyperplasia

Cancer Risk

Higher likelihood of developing testicular cancer later in life

Higher likelihood of developing ovarian or breast cancer later in life

Life Expectancy

Generally have shorter life expectancy compared to females

Generally have longer life expectancy compared to males

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What is Male Fetus?

A male fetus is a growing human baby in the womb whose gender has been identified as male. This determination occurs at 6-7 weeks gestation, when the SRY gene on the Y chromosome causes the development of male sex organs.

Key points

  • Male fetuses tend to be slightly larger than females in the first trimester.
  • The SRY gene on the Y chromosome plays a crucial role in initiating male sex development.
  • Testicular development begins around week 7, leading to the production of testosterone

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Key Features of Male Fetus:

  • XY chromosomes. The presence of the Y chromosome causes the development of male sexual organs.
  • Around week 7, the Y chromosome initiates testicular development. The testes generate testosterone, a hormone that regulates the development of male sexual organs.
  • By week 12, the growing penis and scrotum are apparent on ultrasound.
  • According to studies, male foetuses may grow somewhat quicker in the second trimester, resulting in an average birth weight.

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What is Female Fetus?

A female fetus is a growing human baby in the womb who carries a XX chromosome pair. This combination regulates the development of female sexual organs and features.

Key points

  • Female fetuses generally have slightly lower average weight compared to males in the first trimester.
  • Ovaries begin to develop around week 5, but they don't become fully functional until after birth.
  • No single gene solely determines female sex development; it's a complex interplay of genes on the X chromosomes.

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Key Features of Female Fetus:

  • XX chromosomes. The lack of the Y chromosome permits the development of female sex organs.
  • The ovaries mature about week 11. Unlike testes, the ovaries do not begin generating hormones until after birth.
  • By week 12, the growing clitoris and labia majora are seen on ultrasound.
  • Female fetuses often have somewhat smaller head circumferences than men at birth.

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Similarities Between Male and female fetus

  • Male and female fetuses. Both grow from a single fertilised egg (zygote).
  • Both are in the process of embryonic development.
  • Both have comparable organs and organ systems, with some variations in reproductive characteristics.
  • Both can be influenced by comparable prenatal variables, including as maternal nutrition and toxin exposure.
  • Both can be diagnosed with genetic abnormalities using approaches such as prenatal screening or genetic testing.
  • Both require appropriate prenatal care to ensure good growth.
  • Both have the potential to develop a variety of congenital and genetic illnesses.
  • Both are capable of responding to stimuli in the womb.
  • Both are affected by genetic inheritance from both parents.

While male and female fetuses go through the identical earliest phases of development, minor variances occur early on. Male fetuses (XY chromosomes) are somewhat bigger in the second trimester and show a higher pro-inflammatory response. This makes children more sensitive to infections and may lead to an increased risk of premature delivery. Female fetuses (with XX chromosomes) are less likely to become infected, although they may be more susceptible to maternal stress hormones. Despite these differences, male and female fetuses require the same level of prenatal care for optimal development.


What is the primary biological difference between a male fetus and a female fetus?

The primary difference lies in the sex chromosomes. A male fetus typically has XY chromosomes, while a female fetus has XX chromosomes.

Are there any early signs to predict the sex of the fetus during pregnancy?

While various myths and old wives' tales exist, the only reliable method to determine the sex of the fetus during pregnancy is through medical techniques like ultrasound or genetic testing.

Do male and female fetuses develop differently in the womb?

Initially, male and female fetuses follow similar developmental pathways. However, as they grow, differences emerge due to hormonal influences and genetic factors.

What are some similarities between male and female fetuses during development?

Both male and female fetuses undergo similar stages of prenatal development, including the formation of basic organ systems, limb development, and brain growth.

At what stage of pregnancy can the sex of the fetus be determined?

Typically, the sex of the fetus can be determined via ultrasound around the 18th to 20th week of pregnancy. Genetic testing can provide earlier and more accurate results.

Are there any specific features that distinguish a male fetus from a female fetus on ultrasound?

Yes, certain anatomical features such as the presence of a penis in a male fetus or the absence thereof in a female fetus can be visualized via ultrasound.